SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco police officer was critically injured after being shot in the head while responding to reports of a mentally disturbed person at Lakeshore Shopping Center on Sloat Boulevard Friday night.
On Saturday, Kevin Downs, an officer who has been with the department for two years, was conscious but remained in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital, following surgery to remove fragments from his brain, according to SFPD interim chief Toney Chaplin.
“He still has partial paralysis on the side of his body, from the shot to the head,” Chaplin said at a brief midmorning press conference Saturday.
The suspected shooter, injured during his arrest Friday night, was also being treated at S.F. General.
Chaplin praised the performance of responding officers, who apprehended the suspect near Stern Grove within an hour of the shooting.
It was no easy task.
The incident began around 8:15 p.m. Friday, when officers responded to the Lakeshore Shopping Center at 1501 Sloat Blvd. after receiving a call about a man causing a disturbance and making threats, police said.
When officers encountered the man in the first block of Everglade Drive, he fired several shots toward the officers, striking Downs in the head. The suspect then ran toward Sigmund Stern Grove, according to police.
The injured officer’s partner provided first aid and requested backup and a perimeter was established around Stern Grove Park.
The suspect came out of the bushes at 28th Avenue and Vicente Street and tried to run away. Officers chased and shot at the suspect, who then fell to the ground while holding his gun to his chest and refusing to surrender, according to police.
Tactical officers used flash-bang devices to distract the man and were able to arrest him. The suspect was taken to San Francisco General Hospital for treatment of his injuries.
“We saw this barricade of cop cars, like, surrounding Vicente. It was all closed down and then we heard flash-bangs go off and multiple rounds fire off, so it was a little weird,” said Antonio Reyes, a student at nearby San Francisco State University.
“There were like 12 cop cars here, like a big bus. They said everything was safe but I had never seen anything like that,” another SFSU student, Jett Johnson told KPIX.
MAYOR ED LEE RESPONDS
“Last night I received one of those calls that as a mayor you never want to receive. The phone call that tells you a police officer has been shot in the line of duty,” Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement Saturday morning. “Each day, the members of the San Francisco Police Department face uncertainty and danger with the purpose of protecting our city and its residents,” Lee said.
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